I know, that's an odd title, isn't it? Just go with me on this one.
About 8 or 9 years ago, my dentist noticed that my teeth were wearing funny and asked me if I ground my teeth at night. I didn't know, I was asleep, but Ryan confirmed that he had heard my teeth grinding in the night. The dentist recommended I get a night guard. At the time we didn't have children, and we didn't see children in our future, so we invested in a night guard from the dentist's office (they are expensive!).
I wore it faithfully, bringing it with me when we went on vacation, spent the weekend at my parents' house, even when I delivered both my kids. I found I couldn't sleep if I didn't have it, and if I didn't have it and did manage to fall asleep, I woke up with a bad headache and jaw pain in the morning.
Every Saturday, Ryan cleans the bathrooms. On this particular Saturday, the case to my night guard was still open (because I hadn't brushed my teeth or night guard yet, I was getting dressed at this time), and all of a sudden I heard, "Uh oh." Ryan had doused my night guard with a ton of Comet, and when I say a ton of Comet, I mean a ton of Comet. It had slipped out of his hands and emptied right into my night guard case. Feeling horrible, my wonderful husband told me he would take care of fixing it so that I could go run the errands that needed to be done. Later, I discovered that he had run it through the dishwasher, to make sure all the Comet was gone. This was very sweet of him, but he had forgotten, even with his chemist background, what can happen to polymers when they get heated. When I went to put it in my mouth, it no longer fit. It was warped. We tried reheating it to fix it, but nothing worked.
In desperation, I drove to Wal-Mart and Target searching for a night guard that I could use. I found one and it worked for about a week. Then, I started waking up in the middle of the night, choking on pieces of plastic. I was grinding my way through the plastic mold. My dad gave me the kit that he had bought but never opened. It was made for people 5'9" and over (I am not even close to that height). When I tried to put the mold in my mouth, it was way too big and I couldn't even close my mouth, so apparently when they put a height requirement on certain things, they really mean it.
I started looking on Amazon for night guards, and I found one made by Sporting Smiles. It had pretty good reviews and was actually made in a dental lab. They mail you the materials and you make a mold of your mouth and mail it back. So, I went to their website to check them out. They were cheaper through their website than through Amazon, and had free shipping. So, I bit the bullet and ordered one, upgrading to the heavy grinder material, for $5 more, but still less than $100 and much less than the dentist had cost.
The materials arrived, and I mixed them together and put the mold in my mouth. The only downside is sitting with it in your mouth for 5 minutes. Then, I popped it out, filled out the paperwork, put it in the envelope and put the prepaid shipping label on it. 2 weeks later, my new night guard arrived. I took it out and examined it. It was MUCH less bulky than the one from the dentist's office. It was also slightly flexible. It kind of looks like those invisalign braces people wear. I have had it for about a month now, and I have to say it is holding up extremely well. There is no evidence of wear and tear on it and it fits perfectly. So, if your dentist ever says you need a night guard, I would highly recommend this place. They did quality work and I paid SIGNIFICANTLY less than I did the first time around.
And that is why this is called an ode to my night guard.